Boom times as old Magic returns to court

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Boom times as old Magic returns to court

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KT’s head coach Chun Chang-jin and his coaching staff cheer after Kim Yong-hwan connects on a three-point shot in a match against Samsung late last month. [NEWSIS]

There’s something different about the Busan-based KT squad this season.

Is it the new name? Magic Wings was changed to Sonic Boom in the offseason.

Or could it be the new cast of players ?

Some might say the biggest difference lies in the coaching.

Chun Chang-jin took over as head coach during the offseason. The impact on court was immediate.

After finishing with 12 wins in total last season, KT is off to a quick start with six wins in eight games for a first place tie in the league standings.

The transformation started in the summer soon after Chun took over. Chun has a certain reputation around the league and it didn’t take long for his players to find out about his hard-nosed ways.

He took his players to Taebaek, Gangwon for a boot camp-like training. On average, Chun’s players lost seven to eight kilograms (15 to 17 pounds). The story goes that when Chun was head of coaching at Dongbu, one of the overseas players used to carry around a plastic bag during training to vomit in because he could not handle the intensity.

“There were many players who needed to go through extra training so I put the entire team through 10 weeks of rehab. The training session was very tough,” Chun admitted.

KT started a rough stretch of games in which they traveled from Busan and Incheon to Seoul, Changwon and Anyang between Oct. 23 and Nov. 1. The Sonic Boom won all five games.

It also helps that KT has its share of forwards. Despite missing a legitimate center, KT’s strength is in their front court. Although not one name stands out as a clear elite forward, KT has plenty of forwards who hustle and play solid defense. Song Young-jin, Cho Dong-hyun, Park Sang-oh, Cho Sung-min and Kim Do-soo provide the necessary talent and height up front.

“Since we do not have a center, we prepare our players to utilize a moving offense which places emphasis on speed,” Chun explained.

Chun and his coaching staff have also been blessed with their offseason acquisition. Despite their first round pick Greg Stiemsma not working, the second round pick has turned some heads.

Jasper Johnson, a 26-year-old product ofSouthern Mississippi, needs improvement on his defense and post play but his shooting touch and ability to find his teammates has been a big plus.

Johnson is leading the league in scoring with 24.6 points but what is most impressive about Johnson is his ability to work with his teammates.


By Lee Eun-kyung [jason@joongang.co.kr]


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